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Chloe Dygert apologises for social media conduct

Road World Championships Imola 2020 Women Elite Time Trial Imola Imola 317 km 24092020 Chloe Dygert United States Of America photo Ilario BiondiBettiniPhoto2020
(Image credit: Bettini Image)

Chloé Dygert has publicly apologised for her conduct on social media, voicing her commitment to diversity and equality in a statement apparently prompted by her new team, Canyon-SRAM

"Cycling should be for everyone regardless of color, gender, sexuality or background. Like Canyon-SRAM Racing, I am committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and equality in cycling and our wider communities," Dygert wrote in an Instagram post at the weekend.

"I apologize to those who felt offended or hurt by my conduct on social media," she added. "I am committed to keep learning and growing as an athlete and a person."

Neither Dygert nor Canyon-SRAM, who announced their signing of the former time trial world champion this week, made specific reference to the social media activity that was deemed inappropriate. However, the incident appears to have stemmed from posts on Twitter that were 'liked' by the 23-year-old in the summer. 

Screenshots posted by one Twitter user appear to show Dygert 'liked' a post stating "white privilege doesn’t exist", and another that suggested Colin Kaepernick, the American Football player who took the knee during the US national anthem to protest racial inequality and later settled in a collusion case against the NFL, "realized that if he grew an afro and played the part of victim, he could scam the black community out of millions."

Another Tweet apparently 'liked' by Dygert referenced former US president Donald Trump’s proposal to allow single-sex homeless shelters to refuse transgender people and stated: "Men who self-identify as women, are not actually women, just as children who self-identify as mermaids, are not actually fish."

The posts are no longer 'liked' by Dygert. 

After Dygert had written her statement on Saturday evening, Canyon-SRAM issued one of their own.

"Canyon-SRAM Racing and all of its members stand by a number of values, including treating all people with respect and dignity regardless of gender, colour, sexual preferences or background," it read.

"Our team exists to inspire people, especially women, to discover the beauty of cycling, from riding for enjoyment to racing to win, and everything that falls in between. 

"We commit to regular training and support to ensure all members are fully aware of and align with our team’s values. This applies to all riders and equally to Chloé Dygert, who in a public statement has willingly committed herself to the values of our team."

Dygert, one of the biggest talents in the sport, will leave the Twenty 20 team to make the switch to the European circuit and compete in the Women’s WorldTour on one of the leading teams in women’s cycling in 2021.

She is still recovering from a quadricep laceration suffered in a horrific crash that ended her hopes of defending her time trial world title in Italy in September. She has set her sights on returning in time to target the Spring Classics, ahead of her primary objective for the year: the time trial at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in the summer.

Riders' use of social media has also been in the spotlight after fellow American Quinn Simmons was suspended by Trek-Segafredo for using an emoji with black skin tone - a practice that has been highlighted as racist and termed 'digital blackface'. Trek-Segafredo, who labelled Simmons' posts as "divisive, incendiary, and detrimental", have now lifted the suspension, with no further action but media training to be held at the next training camp.